Diagnosis: New mom
Treatment: Support from the Parent-Baby Groups
It’s not just motherhood that has 34-year-old Holly Egging raving.
It’s the help, support, nurturing and friendship that she found at EvergreenHealth’s Parent-Baby Group, a first-of-its-kind lifeline for new parents.
Holly heard about the program when son Eli was born. “It was a godsend, a really wonderful experience,” she enthuses. “It’s amazing how having an infant can instantly bond a group of people.”
Tracy Van den Boomen, EvergreenHealth’s lead facilitator for the group, says the Parent-Baby sessions help lessen the feeling of isolation that often comes with new parenthood.
“We do a great job of getting couples ready for delivery day,” she explains, “but preparing for birth doesn’t necessarily prepare them for life with baby afterward. It’s really common for new parents to feel isolated, and to feel like they’re the only ones who are going through this right now.”
The need for continuing support gave birth to the Parent-Baby Group in 1991…and it’s been growing strong ever since.
Each week, parents and their babies gather with a class facilitator in an informal group setting at EvergreenHealth to share parenting successes – as well as challenges – and get practical, hands-on information to make the journey a little easier.
Each two-hour session includes a topic that covers everything from baby’s eating and sleeping patterns to information on family financial planning, water safety and even forming play groups.
But it’s the second hour that Holly says she and other new parents often appreciate the most: a free-for-all discussion on anything and everything baby.
The Parent-Baby Groups are divided by age – Snugglers (0-3 months), Gigglers (3-6 months), Movers (6-9 months), Explorers (9-12 months) and Shakers (12-15 months).
Van den Boomen explains that the three-month span in ages gives parents with babies at the younger end of the spectrum an opportunity to get guidance and advice from someone who’s just survived what they’re going through.
“Many of the mothers tell us that EvergreenHealth has become their extended family,” Van den Boomen shares. “We provide the same wisdom and guidance that past generations used to get from immediate family.”
Holly Egging attended the full year of Parent-Baby Group with Eli. “Many of us still get together and we still support each other,” she says. “We’ve formed playgroups and even a babysitting co-op.”
“The best part was being with a network of new moms going through the same thing I was, and benefiting from their advice, help and listening ears,” Holly recalls. “It was phenomenal.”
The Parent-Baby Groups are open to all new parents, regardless of where you gave birth.